US 7165380 B2
A connector (10) includes a housing (34) and an arm (43) pivotally connected to the housing (34). A hook (48) is formed on one end of the arm (43) and a spring (49) is positioned between the arm (43) and the housing (34). The connector (10) can be used to attach two items of many configurations together, but it is particularly suited to attach strap ends of an item such as a halter (11) having a strap (12) and a strap (13) interconnected by a plurality of tab straps (20, 21, 22). The strap (12) is interrupted to form a portion (32) carrying the connector (10) and another portion (31) carrying an o-ring (29) which can be engaged between the hook (48) and the housing (34).
1. Apparatus for connecting a first item to a second item comprising a housing adapted to be attached to the first item, an arm pivotally connected to said housing, a hook formed on one end of said arm, and a spring between the other end of said arm and said housing to bias said one end of said arm toward said housing so that the second item may be maintained between said hook and said housing, the other end of said arm thereby being at all times totally within the profile of said housing.
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13. Apparatus for connecting a first item to a second item comprising a housing adapted to be attached to the first item, an arm carried by said housing and moveable from a first position holding the second item within the housing to a second position allowing the release of the second item, said arm having a terminal end adapted to be engaged to move said arm from the first position to the second position, said terminal end of said arm at all times being totally within the profile of said housing.
14. Apparatus for connecting a first item to a second item comprising a housing adapted to be attached to the first item, an arm connected to said housing at a pivot point, said arm having a first portion extending from said pivot point to a first end and a second portion extending from said pivot point in a direction opposite to said first portion to a second end, and a hook formed on said first end to maintain the second item between said first portion and said housing, the entirety of said second portion being at all times within the profile of the housing.
This application is a division of application Ser. No. 09/997,695 filed Nov. 30, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,530,196.
This invention relates to an improved snap for quickly connecting or disconnecting two items. The snap is particularly useful to connect or disconnect two straps of a horse halter or the like.
In many fields, the need exists to quickly connect or disconnect two items such as the end of a pet leash to the collar of a pet, or two straps of a halter for a horse. There has been a universally accepted snap hook which has traditionally been used for such purposes. This hook, which would be carried at the end of one of the items, is j-shaped in configuration having an arm with a hook which is designed to engage the other item formed at one end of the arm. A spring-loaded clasp arm has one end carried at the other end of the arm with its other end being selectively engageable with the open portion of the hook. When engaging an item, the clasp arm is biased against the hook to confine the item within the hook. By applying a force to the clasp arm, it can be moved away from the hook, and the item that was previously being engaged can be removed from the space formed between the clasp arm and the hook.
While these types of snap hooks have served their purpose in many applications for many years, they are not without their problems for at least some applications. In particular, the spring tension on the clasp arm must be strong enough to maintain the item within the hook while at the same time not be so strong as to make it difficult for the user to open the snap. Thus, oftentimes when a quick connecting or disconnecting snap is desirable, the minimal tension on the clasp arm to enable one to perform the task quickly is insufficient to prevent accidental unhooking of the item.
When employed in applications such as to attach the open ends of a horse halter to affix the halter to the horse, such problems are compounded because the junction must be strong, yet the hooking action must take place quickly before the horse determines that it does not want to receive the halter. Moreover, when these snap hooks were first employed on halters, the clasp arm was positioned facing away from the body of the horse. As such, movement of the horse might allow the clasp arm to come into contact with an item, such as the fence of a pasture, which could either open the halter and release the horse, or cause the hook to engage the fence thereby attaching the horse to the fence. As a result of this potential hazard, more recently the snap hooks have been turned around so that the clasp arm is against the body of the horse. However, not only does such a positioning make it harder to move the clasp arm, but also this positioning can cause an irritable rubbing on the body of the horse.
The need exists, therefore, for a snap connector which can be universally used for all applications while at the same time be acceptable for certain specialized applications such as for the halter of a horse.
It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a snap connector which can be quickly and easily operated to connect two items together or to disconnect those items.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a snap connector, as above, which securely engages the items to be connected and yet is operable to connect or disconnect the items with a minimal force.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a snap connector, as above, which is not susceptible to accidental opening, thereby inadvertently releasing an item.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a snap connector, as above, which is readily adaptable for use in horse halters or the like.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a snap connector, as above, which when used in a halter does not present a safety hazard to the horse.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a snap connector, as above, which when used in a halter does not present an irritant to the horse.
These and other objects of the present invention, as well as the advantages thereof over existing prior art forms, which will become apparent from the description to follow, are accomplished by the improvements hereinafter described and claimed.
In general, an apparatus for connecting a first item to a second item made in accordance with the present invention includes a housing adapted to be attached to the first item and an arm pivotally connected to the housing. A hook is formed on one end of the arm and a spring is positioned between the arm and the housing to bias the hook end of the arm toward the housing so that the second item may be retained between the hook and the housing.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a connector can be used in conjunction with an animal halter which includes a first strap adapted to be received around the nose and chin of the animal and a second strap adapted to be received around the head and throat of the animal. A plurality of tabs connect the straps, and at least one of the straps is interrupted to form first and second strap ends. The connector is carried by the first strap end and includes a housing and an arm pivotally connected to the housing. A spring is positioned between the arm and the housing to bias the arm so that the second strap end may be maintained between the arm and the housing.
A preferred exemplary snap connector and horse halter made in accordance with the present invention are shown by way of example in the accompanying drawings without attempting to show all the various forms and modifications in which the invention might be embodied, the invention being measured by the appended claims and not by the details of the specification.
A snap connector made in accordance with the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral 10 and is shown in
Halter 11 includes a poll and throat strap generally indicated by the numeral 12, and a nose and chin strap generally indicated by the numeral 13. Straps 12 and 13 can be made of any suitable material, such as nylon, leather or the like, which is strong and yet which provides comfort to the horse. The size of strap 12 is rendered adjustable to the size of the horse by means of a buckle 14 having a tongue 15 to be received in a selected one of a plurality of grommet-reinforced holes 16. Similarly, the size of strap 13 is rendered adjustable dependent on the size of the horse by means of a buckle 17 having a tongue 18 to be received in a selected one of a plurality of grommet-reinforced holes 19.
Straps 12 and 13 are interconnected by a series of tab straps which can include opposed cheek tabs 20 and 21 which run along the sides of the face of the horse, and a throat tab 22 which runs under the horse's head generally along its throat. Tabs 20, 21, 22 maintain straps 12 and 13 in a fixed position relative to each other, and they too can be made of any suitable material such as nylon, leather, or the like.
Halter 11 is shown as having several types of mechanisms which attach tabs 20, 21 and 22 to straps 12 and 13, at least some of which may be interchangeable. For example, cheek tabs 20 and 21 are shown as being connected to nose and chin strap 13 by means of three-way halter squares 23 and 24, respectively. Such halter squares allow multiple straps to intersect and be maintained in a fixed position. As such, strap 13 is divided into a nose portion 25 having its ends attached to one side of each halter square 23 and 24 and a chin portion 26 having its ends attached to the opposed side of each halter square 23 and 24. Cheek tabs 20 and 21 then each have one end attached to a third side of halter squares 23 and 24, respectively. These attachments may be accomplished in any conventional manner but usually are created by threading the ends of the straps 20, 21, 25 and 26 through tab openings in halter squares 23 and 24 and then sewing them back on themselves to form loops which thereby engage the sides of halter squares 23 and 24.
An o-ring 27, which is shown to be in the form of a floating o-ring, is provided around chin portion 26 of strap 13, and it carries one end of throat tab 22 by means of a ring 28 carried by that end of tab 22. Ring 28 is shown as preferably being triangular in configuration having one of the intersections of its sides contacting o-ring 27, but it too could be an o-ring or even a d-ring. The connection of the ring 28 to the floating o-ring 27 allows throat tab 22 to center itself on chin portion 26 of strap 13. In addition, a lead (not shown) may be attached to o-ring 27 to enable the horseman to guide or otherwise control the horse.
The other ends of cheek tabs 20 and 21 are attached, as by the loops previously described, to o-rings 29 and 30, respectively. O-rings 29 and 30 divide strap 12 into a poll or head portion 31 and a throat portion 32. Thus, one end of head portion 31 is connected to o-ring 29, and its other end is connected to o-ring 30. Throat portion 32 is shown as being at least in part rounded for comfort and has one end attached to o-ring 30. The other end of throat portion 32 is shown as carrying snap connector 10 which is engaging o-ring 29 and which will be hereinafter described in detail. Throat portion 32 also receives and carries the other end of throat tab 22 via a loop 33 formed at the end thereof.
Halter 11 may be placed on a horse without disturbing the predetermined sizes of straps 12 and 13 as selected by the positioning of buckles 14 and 17, respectively. With snap connector 10 disengaged from o-ring 29, strap 13 is positioned around the nose and chin of the horse and the open strap 12 is positioned so that upon the engagement of o-ring 29 by snap connector 10, as shown in
Such can be accomplished quickly and safely by snap connector 10, the details of which are shown in
Snap connector 10 also includes a lock arm generally indicated by the numeral 43 which in one position (
Faceplate 44 extends within housing 34 and has a pressure end 47 situated generally adjacent to the end of housing 34 having slot 42, and a hook end 48 situated generally adjacent to the end of housing 34 having lips 37 and end wall 39. A torsion spring 49 is positioned around pin 46 and bears against housing base 35 and pressure end 47 of plate 44 to urge hook end 48 downwardly into housing 34 between lips 37 to form, with slot 38, a generally oval capturing compartment 50.
When in its normal position under the influence of spring 49, faceplate 44 is recessed within, and protected from accidental contact by, housing sidewalls 36. In addition, hook end 48 is positioned within, and protected from accidental contact by, end wall 39 and lips 37, while at the same time forming compartment 50. As such, a connecting member such as o-ring 29 may be captured and securely maintained within compartment 50 thereby attaching one item to another item, such as in the instance shown in
In view of the foregoing, it should be evident that a snap connector constructed as described herein can quickly and easily attach items to each other or detach items from each other, such as the components of a horse halter or the like, thereby accomplishing the objects of the invention and otherwise substantially improving the art.